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5 Ways To Effectively Protect Your Intellectual Property

5 Ways To Effectively Protect Your Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is one of the most difficult things to protect. There is no greater hazard to your company than losing these critical pieces of information. Whether they’re plans for new efforts in assembly, or simply the materials you use to train your employees, the risks of losing such information to your competition are real and potentially very expensive over the long term.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

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1. Secure your materials

As with anything valuable, you must secure proprietary information where it is stored and handled. When your valuable are virtual goods like training materials, one of the most important things to consider is comprehensive network security. Failing to implement security is an invite to hackers and thieves to help themselves to your confidential data.

It can be difficult to convince personnel that these steps are as important. It is a worthwhile investment of your time to conduct in-service training or host other activities to impress upon everyone that utilizing the required encryption, password protection, and firewall steps is as important as locking the front door of the Louvre.

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2. Don’t train your tentative employees until they need it

Secure information is often described as being available on a “need to know” basis. If someone doesn’t need to know, don’t tell them. Apart from reducing the amount of training that goes on, this also helps secure data. Imagine taking a new employee through a full week of training on your materials and then losing him or her–and subsequently, the intellectual property–to a competitor. There is always the risk of that happening, but if that employee did not yet need to be trained in so many aspects within the first week, it was an unnecessary risk to have taken.

This also cuts down on wasted effort in training. It can be very exciting when new methods or topics come available, and the temptation can be great to hurry and get ahead of the curve by training personnel as quickly as possible. However, the inevitable bugs associated with the rollout of new versions of any product–concrete or virtual–necessitate a more measured approach in training personnel. That brings us to our next point.

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3. Keep the target moving

Sometimes the best strategy to avoid theft of your intellectual property is to change it. It doesn’t require a complete overhaul of everything you do, just a few basic changes or re-ordering of steps.

A good example of this, on a simpler level, is the evolution of company logos. While we think the Golden Arches at McDonald’s are unchanged from Ray Kroc’s earliest days in the U.S., the fact is that there has been an ongoing evolution in the coloration, shape, font, and so forth ever since it first emerged.

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Think of your training the same way. For starters, any product, service, or system that you are training on will undergo periodic changes. Anything technological certainly will. So sometimes, the mere passage of a few months can make any pirated information obsolete. And if you can accelerate that process, even just a little, your vulnerability is even lower.

As an employee, the knowledge and materials generated by your employer required many hours of work and significant financial investments to create. It is your duty not only to make use of them, but to make sure that they stay in-house where they belong so that those investments pay off.

4. Make a habit of documenting everything

Just keeping patents is simply not enough. When you register your patent and start working on your idea, you start a war with a lot of people who are in same industry. Keeping a journal is a best practice. This journal should include everything from the inception of the idea, every meeting you make, every person you meet. Doing this will help you really grab hold of your idea and aid you in auditing any leaks.

5. Execute your ideas quickly

Our mind is a thinking machine, and sometimes, when it’s on the move, it showers us with noble ideas, but it can also feed us negativity and depression. When you think an idea is worth chasing, you should act on it fast. You’re never sure whether somebody, somewhere, might have a similar idea, and beat you to it. As businessmen put it, idea plus execution plus investment increases your chances of success.

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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